February 13, 2018

Key Takeaways for Women in Advertising

By Maria Antonelli, Andrea Ferrino, Elizabeth Gluck, Jennifer Harris, Lauren Bentley, Amanda Kalbrosky and Elizabeth Howarth

Earlier this month, the Philly Ad Club hosted its annual Women in Advertising event, where a panel of women in advertising and communications imparted their knowledge to a room of marketers (men and women). The panelists—each with a different personality and job description—shared how they successfully handled adversity throughout their careers and overcame self-doubt to achieve their goals.

Key Takeaways

A group of women from AB&C were fortunate enough to attend the event and brought home a short list of takeaways. Here are our favorites.

Maria Antonelli, Division Director, Account Services

Listening to each panelist’s unique story of risk-taking, self-advocacy and persistence was certainly uplifting. What was the most aspirational, though, was the honesty and sincere transparency of the fact that there’s no singular way or answer for any woman— a terrific reminder that we must each listen to our own individual calling and, once the message has been received, be willing to accept the associated risks and rewards of pursuing it relentlessly.

Andrea Ferrino, Media Supervisor

Success is not a straight line; rather, it’s a scenic route. The sooner you accept that there will be wrong turns, failures and times when you will feel lost, the easier it will be to recalibrate and keep moving toward your destination. It’s important to realize that it’s OK to change directions. Sometimes the rug gets pulled out from underneath you. Sometimes you meet your goal and decide it looks different now. Your greatest successes can happen based on your willingness to veer off course. In tandem with being flexible on the road to success, remember to be kind to yourself (and others, but first and foremost to yourself). Trust your gut, find your passion, know your worth and don’t be afraid to ask for what you want—from a certain salary, pay raise or a benefit, like working from home.

Elizabeth Gluck, Account Executive

There was a theme that I noticed connecting almost all of the stories we heard from the panel—self-doubt and failure. We heard stories of finding your voice, such as not being afraid to speak up in a meeting (because if you don’t say it, someone else will); refusing to take a “no” from someone who can’t give you a “yes”; being fired, laid off and leaving jobs; and how success is not always a clear path forward. Being that this event was focused on women in advertising, it did make me wonder if women are more likely than men to beat themselves up over the events of the day. And how some gifts that come with being a woman may also act as a burden, such as being more in tune with our emotions or critical of our experiences. That being said, there were inspiring stories and anecdotes that the panel offered, including the self-doubt-busting reminder—the bad is never that bad!

Jennifer Harris, Project Manager

Know your worth and speak up confidently (but not aggressively). As a woman in a predominately male industry (and for me, specifically, a male-dominated career path), it is important to know the value you bring to the table and the skills you are able to contribute to a project. As a woman, you bring a unique perspective to everything you work on—use that to your advantage. And most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask. It’s OK to ask for the promotion you’ve worked hard for. It’s OK to ask to be put on a new project or paired with a new client. Be sure to do it with grace and respect, but don’t be afraid to just ask. Do not waste an opportunity to advance or to take the next step in your career because you are worried someone will say “no.”

Lauren Bentley, Project Manager

As a young woman starting her career in a competitive, fast-paced industry, I was in awe as each panelist shared her story of success. They had all had different career paths, but each woman shared one thing in common: She experienced failures. The panelists shared stories of crumbled marriages, academic challenges, early-career mistakes and major messups. In challenging times, choosing to push forward and overcome failure is a success in itself. Pick yourself up, find strength and persevere in challenging times. It’s important to keep in mind that your path to success isn’t a ladder, it’s a jungle gym. It is inevitable that you will experience ups and downs throughout your career, and life in general, but you have the power to control how you react to adversity.

Amanda Kalbrosky, Account Executive

There are many ways to define success. Success could be getting positive feedback from a client on a particular project. It could be an increase in salary, or promotion within your organization. Whatever success means to you, it is important to acknowledge and celebrate the big and small wins on a daily basis. Say “yes” to more opportunities than you say “no” to—at least you’ll have a good story to tell if you fail. Be open to traveling the road less traveled and create your own opportunities. Great careers are a result of determination and passion. Finally, surround yourself with positive people and build a strong support system in your personal and professional life. These people will challenge you to reach new heights you never thought possible.

Elizabeth Howarth, Manager, Marketing & Inbound

The path to success isn’t linear. You’ll find that some of your greatest successes come as a result of your ability to veer off course and overcome failure. It’s important to know your worth. You shouldn’t be afraid to ask for what you desire, for fear of being labeled as bossy or aggressive. You also should never accept a “no” from someone who can’t give you a “yes.” Walk in your shoes with authority, and always trust your gut. Strong will and true passion are the building blocks of a successful career. Be sure to surround yourself with people that will build you up and challenge you to be the best version of yourself. Lastly, the more you give, the more you get. Find a mentor for your own professional development, and act as a mentor for other young professionals in your industry. Don’t forget to extend the ladder to the rising stars behind you.